Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Yarn along - a prayer

Joining Ginny and the other Ladies at the Yarn Along!

It seems bad things just keep coming. Yesterday, my brother-in-law was carrying Seal (my nickname for my nephew who was born in Oct) over a baby gate in their home. I know how many things I stepped over one. He fell. Seal fell. His skull is fractured, his tiny brain has a bleed. He is in hospital this morning after a night fear. He was transferred to the big hospital about an hour from their home. The neurosurgeon is thinking he will not need surgery.

Last night and today, I am praying. I past updates on to family and friends, I worried, and I prayed. This is the start of a prayer blanket for him.

In other news, my mother will be discharged from hospital today. I spent a good deal of time frogging and refrogging my milk sweater but am moving forward again. As for reading I haven't had much time. I am reading a herbal home remedy book, I can't recommend. Catching up on reading my magazine subscriptions. Spin off and Brew primarily. 

If you are willing, would you say a prayer for my little nephew, sister, and brother-in-law. Thank you, 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Trust mommie

When my great big son Beaver was still my tiny baby boy, I used to say that as I washed his hair. He was afraid to get water in his eyes. So as I tipped him backwards to rinse his hair I repeated "trust mommie." over and over. It actually is older than that, I used to help wash my sister's hair and tried to teach her to float. She is 5 years younger than me and Julia was hard. So she called me "E." Back then it was "trust E."

At bedtime we always read a chapter of some book. Lately, Jim has been getting the girls, each one reading a chapter of her own book to him. Well Badger forgot her book at school, we were eating very late, it was already after bedtime and Mouse was refusing his salad. The rest of us were done. Mouse has been getting harder and harder to convince to eat veggies at all, green ones especially. Jim had had enough and decided to sit with him and encourage the eating of the rest of the dreaded green stuff. I offered to read Badger a story of my choosing. Doubt. Trust Mommie. I got Little House on the Prairie out. "I don't want to read that." Ok you can just cuddle and not listen while I read you the chapter. So down we snuggled on the couch, with the dresses quilt I made her and Goldie the tiger cat stuffie on her lap. I read the first chapter, she did not wiggle the whole time. We were done, but Mouse wasn't. Butterfly had curled up reading her own book waiting for Daddy. And a little voice from my lap said "Mommie, would you read another chapter." Trust Mommie, she knew you would like it.

When Mouse finally gave in and ate the lettuce - he caved on the broccoli much earlier as he actually likes it just not green - it was his turn for a story. We had just finished Magnus Chase and Gods of Asgard  The Sword of Summer so he was lobbing to re-read Biggles Learns to Fly. Nope. Trust Mommie. (Biggles btw is a great read set in WWI England and France.)

I got out Interesting Times. He grumbled. Plain red cover, boring title, what is Mommie thinking?! Well after he got over the sudden location shifts in the story, he was smiles and chuckles. Then I noticed it did not actually have chapters per se. He said "I guess we have to read the whole thing tonight." Trust Mommie, she knew you would like it. We settled on twenty pages each night - unless we are in an exciting part.

Hoping you get to enjoy and maybe even share a good book today!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday morning

Our cat Racer holding his own protest movement. I have been getting the pack and play out for our friend's baby to use when they visit. Racer is certain it is for him and when I mentioned taking it down he hopped in to prove his point.
Mom is still in hospital but is starting to feel better.

The weekend included many fun things.
The kids are all on the US Junior Scale Modelling Team and we had a meeting and met the new girl - very talented - and had a demo on diorama building.
Then we went home and cleaned house. It really needed it. You know you have put it off too long when your friends comment on how nice it looks and how hard you must have worked.
We had friends over to play board games. Ages ranged from 10 weeks to well we will leave it at solidly adult. Jimwas not moving quickly - we are fairly certain he broke something in his foot playing with Badger - so I made the bulk of the food we served. We had a veggie tray, cheese and sausage (he made those) along with chips and crackers. I made chicken wings, rumake, bacon wrapped toast, onion tart, cheese tart, and peanut brittle. We played Between Two Cities, Elder Sign, and Mari Kuro. By the time that was finished most everyone had left and it was 2am. I went to bed but Jim and a friend stayed up, I am told until 5.
We managed to get up in time to wake Beaver in time for work. He works at a nearby grocery store, is saving for college and a car, and learning about money. I hope not the hard way, but despite my best efforts really seems to value things for their price tag, rather than true worth. I hope this goes away as he grows up.
I did some work on the dye porch. More on that on my business blog!
Then I took the girls shopping. Butterfly has a recital today and needed a new dress. She really wanted to go to Kohl's - I didn't as while they have nice sales the price point is higher - and Badger needed shoes. Really both girls needed shoes. I got sucker into getting a dress for both of them but they were very reasonable about looking at items that were on sale or on the clearance rack. I expected Butterfly to pick the pink floral dress she tried on. Pink is her jam, and it looked nice on her. I further expected Badger to go for the gold lace one, as she is very into gold right now. I was super pleased to discover that (they did the fitting rooms like a style show and came out in their final selections) both surprised me. Badger chose a bright pink cotton knit dress because she explained that it was a more everyday kind of fabric and she could use the dress more. Butterfly selected a electric blue chiffon dress, it honestly looked the best on her, I was surprised that she overcame her color preference to select it. Then to the shoes. we took too long - all be it having fun - shopping for clothes and the shoe store was closed. So we went to target. They claimed to be running a sale, that did not appear on my receipt, and they were very picked over. Butterfly found 3 pairs of dress shoes and only had trouble deciding. No regular shoes to be had. grr. Badger could not decide, and really could not find anything that fit well. after an hour, she tried on and like the white eyelet lace dress shoes. Sigh. so not a good idea. But by that time my brain had melted - hence not dealing with the sale not ringing up right then. They love them. Did I mention that the dresses together were nearly the same price a one pair of shoes!

Hope you had a fun weekend!~ Julia

Friday, March 11, 2016

Mom and March

My mother has been sick since I was twelve. She went from normal working healthy mom to nearly dying multiple times to disabled likely to suddenly end up in the hospital in what seemed to me to be a finger snap. I don't really clearly remember the start just before and after. I was in middle school and caught up in all that stress and excitement and change, for me this was one of those changes. My parents, and grandparents protected my sister and me from most of the fear they held. It is what parents do. So mom being sick became just a normal part of our lives. Most of the time we don't much think about it. There are things she can't do, there are tons of medications and things she needs to help her. Most of the time her illness doesn't really get in the big picture of our lives. It is something that is normal. Most daughters don't have a spare oxygen concentrater tucked in their front closet in case mom needs it. Most people don't plan three hours for security at the airport. Taking her places is a hassle but it is just our lives.

And we live them. She especially loves the crafting retreat time we take together and joining me demonstrating at Garfield Farm Museum. She will sometimes, if she is feeling good, come along to a craft show, and keep me company. She feels bad about not being able to help, but really it is nice having her there to talk to, or to watch the cash box so I can go to the bathroom without worrying.

Yesterday, she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and a stomach virus. She is miserable, but getting the care she needs.

Dad's phone call, "Julie, we are at er, looks like your mom is buying a bed." Brought back so many memories, fears, and struggles. I couldn't get a hold of him. He left that message on my voicemail, but the Emergency department at the hospital is in the basement and he had no service. I tried all the numbers I had but I couldn't reach him. I started to drive down - about an hour away, she was admitted about 1am so the call was at about 10pm - he called again and told me to go home. Truthfully, this time mom is okay. They will fix this, she recover, they caught it in time, but the call was the same.

The same as four years ago, I had then as now seen her two days before and she was fine. This time when she went to bed to rest and he checked on her a few hours later she had a fever of 104.8. Last time she was not responsive. This time, he got her up and to the car, last time was a 911 call. Last time was four weeks on a ventilator and her doctor, literally, sleeping by her bedside. Last time she was lost, but came back to us. This time she will stay in hospital for a few days and come home stronger. Last time she was discharged from the hospital to a rehabilitation hospital for weeks.

Yesterday, was the four year anniversary of that discharge.

I say "last time" when in truth it wasn't literally the last time, she has been in hospital since then, but Pneumonia very nearly took her before and has her down again. I don't really remember the fear from when her health started to fail. I became accustomed to the hospitals, stress, and extra work that was normal and fundamental in our lives. I remember, with painful clarity the doom and despair on my father's face from last time. I remember sitting in her hospital room with only the sound of the machines keeping her alive, reading her my textbook.

She is and will be fine. But my heart is stalled at "looks like your mom is buying a bed."


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Yarn along - Happy Butterfly!

Joining Ginny and the other Ladies of the Yarn Along!

I finished it!!! The close up shot is the correct one for color - my  kitchen bleaches color out of photos sorry! I am very happy, and so is she how this turned out. Super soft and cozy, against the skin but not tight anywhere. She has agreed that since I finished her sweater and the one for her sister, maybe, just maybe I can work on my sweater for awhile.

Like most crafters I know projects for myself get set aside anytime a deadline or a project for a loved one comes up. Here is my, again, now current project, the milk protein sweater. Ravelry link here.

 I am behind on the weather blanket due to this crazy cold I got at the hospital, every three days it is like getting a whole new cold. Glad we are only visiting via the internet. I am about 17 days behind.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone is working on! ~Julia

Brewing post -playing catch up

One of the things I love to do is brew. I make beer, cider, and wine. I am not an expert at any of this but have been doing this for several years now and won first and second place ribbons at my county fair last year. The second was for a Irish red ale another for my bourbon aged cider and the first place for my liebefraumilch wine. We shall see what I can do this year.

I brew with a friend (I'll link her blog when she gets back up) we did a sparkling wine from the grapes -concord- in her yard. and bottled it the week before Christmas. We are calling Baby Wine as we started the day before she found out she was pregnant and bottled a week before the birth of her daughter.  I also started a still red wine from those same grapes this fall.

I made my first whole grain beer this winter as well. It started out tasting mildly of ginger bread and was ready to drink at Christmas. It was alright, with a low alcohol content and a mild but pleasing taste. I am off and running with my second batch, which contains 2 row barley, a Belgium wheat, and a chocolate wheat. I am hoping to find some time to bottle that today.

I have a experimental peach wine going. Seven gallons of well I hope this works, it smells good.

Also fermenting is about 5 gallons of cider from my apples.
 All grain beer at the beginning of cooking.
 All grain beer fitted with blow off hose for fermentation. As the yeast grows the pressure can cause any lid you use to explode off which is not tasty and a huge mess. Using the tubing (the other end is submersed in water forming a seal for the bottle but allowing the gases a way out) you can not only avoid the scrub ceiling step of brewing but it will take some of the trapped particles left in the beer out.
 This is a garbage bucket of future peach wine. It got much bigger and was moved to a 7 gallon glass carboy (giant bottle.)
Lovely wonderful press I rented for local brewery store, for pressing out all my apples. I cut them in half and stored them in the extra freezer. I am small scale and getting the press rental in the correct season is difficult, since I have the space I take advantage of it. I really want to make myself on of these though.

I will try to update on brewing more often!~Julia

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Yarn along a little late

Joining in with Ginny and the other ladies of the Yarn along! even though I am late.

I was sick since Friday. I am behind in everything.

 This is Mom's Sweater. She worked on it while waiting to hear about Dad's surgery. (He has a little infection in the knee but the doctor in not worried and he is otherwise doing well) This is Mom's first ever sweater and first ever color work. Her whales are less whale-like than they were supposed to be but she is going to try to fix that with her cross stitching skills after she finishes the sleeves.
 The Sweater for Butterfly may get done today - if I get off the computer - I ran out of the yarn I had made! So I blended some white wool with some chocolate alpaca and spun up more yarn. It is so soft. The other yarn was very soft but this is even more so. She love the row of hearts as she is calling the pink.

 Longer view this time without my toes. The sweater needs my to finish the color work, decrease, do the neck and sew the armpits. Oh and attach the pocket. I am re-reading Face the Fire by Nora Roberts. I love the characters she builds. In this story I particularly like how you work through with them how their actions long ago affected each other and why they made the choices they did. 
 While Mom was working on the sweater, I worked on the weather blanket. I had left it to get behind both because I wanted something to do the day of the surgery that I didn't have to think about so much and because I was working on the sweater for Butterfly. I did not catch up but I did get a lot done. I hope to get all caught up before the weekend is over.


Update on my Dad

He cruised through the surgery! The Dr was very pleased with how well it went.

The story:
Mom and I sat out in the waiting room worried and fussing at each other. My Mom is disabled and has strong nesting instincts, she can't go anywhere with a hundred things. The morning of the surgery she had a tote bag, a purse, and a basket to take with her. and her walker. and her thermos bottle of soda. I brought my purse and the weather blanket -wanting a pattern I didn't have to think about. Mom's purse along weighted 30 pounds! The tote was overfilled and when Dad grumbled at her she grabbed her knitting bag out of the basket jammed in into the tote and we left for the hospital. Dad had his overnight bag for the stay which was to be left with us. Once dad got checked in and taken back, they told us it would be an hour until we could see him while they got him ready, then we could wait with him until it was time for the surgery. I decided, that as I was the one expected to carry all this stuff it was getting downsized. Mom -who was going to be with me the whole day and expected to go home that night - had 9 magazines for herself and 2 as a present for Dad, three coloring books, three packs of colored pencils and a book of crayons, a newspaper, 3 knit picks catalogs, 2 lion brand catalogs, a Mary Maxim's, and a Shopko ad., four knitting projects (included a beaded knitting project and several thousand seed beads,) nine tubes of lipstick, three compacts, 4 smushed candy bars, and all her meds and wallets. Plus about 30 expired coupons and some broken candy canes. I edited her take about 40 pounds of stuff, dad's bag, and everyone's coats back to the car.

We saw Dad, they took him back and the waiting began again. She knit, I crocheted. Three rows later she informed me she left the size 6 needles, she needed next, at home. Frustrated as I was at her having brought so much unnecessary stuff with her and left the thing she needed, I also found the whole thing funny. We decided the sweater would be just fine finished on the 7's. She has been working on her first ever sweater for a cousin's baby since the baby was born, mistakes have been made luckily one of them on the size of the sweater and nearly a year later she is almost done.

They told us he had done fine and asked us to wait another hour while he woke up and was moved to a room. She finished the sweater although the seed stitch end is about half seed and half k1/p1 rib. Stress knitting.

Dad did great got up and walked the first day, decided that he needed mom to stay with and we discovered his love of the cookies at the hospital. Like Scooby snacks Dad worked for those cookies. He is home now and working to gain back his mobility.

Mom and I both caught a terrible cold at the hospital. Hoping to feel all the way better soon.